Mendocino County Today: Friday, Nov. 17, 2017
by AVA News Service, November 16, 2017
BOONVILLE apparently got almost an inch of rain on Thursday, as did most other areas of Mendocino County, with Laytonville again getting the most at nearly two inches (although one local downtown Boonville gage only showed about a tenth of an inch, implying that most of the rainfall total reported by the rainfall network was Wednesday, not Thursday). The next round of rain is expected to arrive Monday and continue off and on through Thursday. The Navarro River flow depth rose to almost three feet late Thursday, but no significant rise is expected in the near future.
MIKE KALANTARIAN WRITES:
Regarding that dry Boonville rain gauge that Marshall Newman mentions: I believe it resides up behind Stalag Calfire (at the shallow end of Anderson Valley). I also think Calfire may be responsible for maintaining it (they are listed as “operator” on the webpage below). So it might be more expeditious to contact the Stalag Commandant to see if someone can unstuck it.
* * *
Also, regarding turning the power off when fire conditions exist: I don’t think that’s a realistic solution. There were a few weeks of Red Flag Warnings (off and on) before the fires eventually broke out. People simply will not tolerate going without power during such lengthy stretches of time. Weather is difficult to prognosticate precisely, so it would be extremely difficult to anticipate exactly when the power would need to be flipped off.
It would be better to just start undergrounding the lines, especially in the more disaster-prone areas.
Things cost money, especially good things. This is the reality Reaganites choose to ignore. No taxes, no money – it’s as simple as that. This is why we have no money for public improvements, while a very small minority selfishly hoard more than they will ever spend. All the plutocrats have to do is pump a very small percentage of their wealth into our political system to keep it this way, and put another small bit into the media to brainwash the rest of us. Until enough of us wake up, it’s going to stay this way.
WINTER SHELTER OPENS SELF:
Homeless Win First Round.
by Rex Gressett
In the always fast moving and data-rich Fort Bragg City Council meeting sometimes they launch pretty big news as an afterthought or a mere footnote. So it seemed when Councilman Bernie Norvell surprised us all in his comments Monday night by delivering some hot news on a running mystery and threatening scandal. The scandal had hatched. For the first time in eleven years, he told us, there would not be an Emergency Winter Shelter (EWS) in Fort Bragg this winter.
Mendocino Coast Hospitality House (MCHC), the heavily funded coastal homeless services monopoly, had said no dice to $50,000 offered by the County for EWS staff and expenses. The buildings are free. For more than a decade the churches have undertaken a weekly rotating schedule with responsibility passing from church to church to open the doors on the worst nights. It is a community tradition offering unadorned and very welcome refuge in dangerous winter weather. MCHC Director Anna Shaw and her pet board of directors had intruded themselves between the community and the churches as our resident misery experts. They have the mojo to get grants, county, money, and permits, and hire trained personnel. In Fort Bragg, MCHC is our only funded agency outside of the County itself.
Councilman Norvell told us the helpfulness professionals at MCHC had pulled the plug at the last minute. The Emergency Winter Shelter was not happening in 2017. Homeless people living out in the woods are not the responsibility of Fort Bragg’s only homeless services facility. The churches were shocked, the county was aghast, even Linda Ruffing normally the insider's insider, was apparently dismayed.
MCHC did not come to the decision to let people get cold and wet and possibly die lightly, or at least they did not come to it quickly. They discussed it with apparent seriousness for months. They had many meetings. They made demands to the County for more money. They floated crazy, half-baked proposals emanating out of the central command of the flamboyant loose cannon Anna Shaw. She wanted an explicit policy permitting all genders. She demanded that someone pay her to provide bag lunches. In the glassy-eyed grip of Anna Shaw’s strutting irresponsibility MCHC just kind of gave up. Let the unhoused get tarps.
Of course, not only the county at large and the 17 affiliated homeless agencies in the county, but the homeless themselves were held in inconvenient suspense until two days before they traditionally opened the doors this Wednesday, November 15. On that Wednesday Fort Bragg was expecting one inch of rain, with 50mph winds.
Like lightning word of mouth, information raced through the camps and the homeless haunts darted under the bridges and flew out along the tracks. No winter shelter was going to happen. In the long journey through homelessness, resilience and despair do a daily dance down the razor's edge. One more little message from the community that no one cares would not break them. But there were tears shed even as they reached down into their last reserves of resilience. I can attest to it.
Anna Shaw's cruel negotiation with the County for more money, her avaricious bargaining, the use of the homeless as pawns, her callous delay until the last possible minute and her stonefaced refusal to care in the very teeth of impending weather — all of it had a flair that has become familiar to the city of Fort Bragg as the institutional culture at Hostility House. Anna Shaw makes policy without impediment. Her particular professional talent is her virtuoso capacity not to take anybody else’s suffering personally. But it was a cruel decision and across the county, it did not make anybody happy.
As the first raindrops started falling, and the wind kicked up, things just somehow slid out of control. Joy and love just kind of broke down the door.
The first point of contact was Redwood Childrens Services. Like a frontier outpost, a wilderness of Hospitality House domination. RCS, the County’s lead helping agency, has recently encamped on Highway One. The Coast Director, Linn, was quick, quiet and decisive. RCS is the county paymaster for all homeless services functions. They have their own mojo. They have moved into town to address indirectly the yawning chasm of irresponsibility and abuse that attach themselves to MCHC like red on a rose. They know Anna Shaw. The RCS director was willing at some professional risk to give the thumbs up and to pay for it. One night, maybe two. Then they want to talk.
Getting people to the EWS involves a pickup location. A staging area, they call it.
They talked to Senior Center Director Charles Bush about using one of the numerous Senior Center buses, but he ducked. Too much regulation. In the end, regular person, good pal and local character Shawn Foot picked them up at the Safeway parking lot and brought the guys in a unique bus-sized recreational vehicle/home that looked like blade runner had picked up a bargain at green acres. It had a plastic kid car bravely bolted to the roof. There was no fuss and no discussion about a staging area. They met on at the northeast corner of Safeway, Shawn scooped them efficiently off the street like a commando.
Chris Strickland, the much-beloved pastor of the coast Christian Center accepted the go-ahead from RCS as authoritative. Maybe it was on the premise that they are the County’s lead agency for homeless funding and policy, or maybe he did it out of pure courage. Either way, it was courageous and gracious and decent. He opened the doors to ten folks. They caused no problems, mopped the floors and did the bathrooms when they left. They are coming back Wednesday night if it looks like rain.
PG&E STALLS POWER LINE MAPPING PROJECT which could have prevented the recent fires.
In the wake of the recent devastating North Bay and Norcal fires, several news agencies have discovered that PG&E has gone to great lengths to repeatedly stall critical a power line mapping project that began after the big fires in San Diego County in 2007.
According to one report by Pulitzer Prize winning Matthias Gafni in a recent San Jose Mercury News article, PG&E and their friends at the California Public Utilities Commission have actively delayed the project time and again, a project could well have mitigated the fires that were probably started by PG&E’s power lines. PG&E basically claimed that the project might cost them money because, in PG&E’s mind it would “add unnecessary costs to construction and maintenance projects in rural areas.”
PG&E and PUC critic state Senator Jerry Hill, D-Redwood City, called the mapping delays “an outrageous example of negligence by a regulatory agency.”
Although investigators have not officially said how the Sonoma and Napa county fires started, the likely ignition points occurred in areas determined to have “elevated” and “extreme” risks of devastating wildfires caused by fallen electrical wires, according to Dave Sapsis, the Cal Fire official who is now leading an independent team of climatology, statistics, fire and engineering experts to create a groundbreaking new methodology for determining fire risks from utilities’ infrastructure. The team is using a supercomputer to crunch weather, topography and engineering data to find the state’s power line wildfire vulnerabilities.
But even that seems like a formula for more delay since whatever they come up with is likely to be disputed by PG&E and their pals on the PUC.
MEANWHILE, a Canadian company called “Sierra Hydrovac” (as just one example) says their Directional Drilling technology is much better than conventional and costly trenching for utility installation, especially in areas that are already paved. Cost estimates for trenching in unpaved areas are lower than paved or occupied areas. But there are significant savings for both because horizontal drilling for most outdoor projects doesn’t disturb the landscape much and there’s no need to fill the trench after the installation. In addition, horizontal drilling does not require a trenching machine actually traveling the entire length of the trench, just at the point of insertion of the drill. As far as we can tell, nobody’s done a realistic cost comparison of undergrounding utilities using conventional trenching or horizontal drilling or some combination. It would be nice if a) the mapping project was done so that we could see the areas most in need of undergrounding and where costs could be estimated for the highest danger areas so that the discussion could be narrowed down to a manageable size with realistic schedules and cost estimates.
But these days with so many other important infrastructure projects going unfunded because nobody’s willing to pay upfront and nobody’s willing to tax the wealthy corporations and individuals who most benefit from the infrastructure, that’s just wistful, wishful thinking.
Unless the PUC somehow magically staffed with critics of PG&E (a highly unlikely prospect), high fire dangers will continue unmitigated for the foreseeable future. (ms)
FORCED FIRE DEBRIS CLEAN-UP?
The California Office of Emergency Services has sent a letter to Mendocino County saying that because of the threat of hazardous debris getting into local rivers and creeks with the winter rains, there may be something like forced abatement.
From the CalOES letter: “…given that winter is approaching and heavy rains are expected, we have advised that if local jurisdictions do not move quickly with regard to abating these properties (i.e., the burned sites that have not signed up for the Army Corps of Engineers abatement program), these properties will not be included in our program. To that end, the local jurisdicsion must provide us with a list of properties where there is an order to abate by no later than December 1, 2017.”
In response, Mendo’s Planning and Building department has drafted a letter for Board of Supervisors consideration next Tuesday.
The letter reads in part that persons who do not participate in either the Army Corps “public” clean up or register for their own private clean up, “…the County will issue [a] Notice of Violation and Order to Abate which if not acted upon by the property owner or person responsible for the property, will allow the County to clean up the impacted property, whether Commercial or Residential, in a timely manner at the property owner’s expense.”
Such property owners can still file the necessary forms, but they don’t have much time “in order to stay further immediate abatement action by the County.”
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag asked me if I'd go halfs with him on a Mega-Million ticket. ‘Dream on, deadbeat. I earn my money. It's saps like you that keep that scam going’."
SOME PROVOCATIVE but true remarks by TWK in Sunday's Journal aimed at Mendo's virtue signalling community. "Local Democrats have made Mendocino County (A) a Nuke-free zone, (B) a No GMO zone, and (C) a No Fracking zone. Also, they’ve banned plastic bags! Look for Ukiah eco-warriors to defeat global warming in the coming weeks. Daily Journal columnists, puffed up with phony indignation at imaginary enemies in faraway places, never find room for a paragraph, poem, sentence or semicolon to discuss atrocities in their own back yards… Our lefties aren’t worried about gardens that divert river water to marijuana crops and kill everything from fish to frogs. They save their outrage for contrails, Trump tweets, and insufficient bicycle lanes."
VERILY, VERILY. There's always been a lot of political posturing around here by unserious, comfortable people and, of course, early on in "the movement," circa ‘67 — the only movement in the history of movements to move steadily backwards — marijuana was assumed as an essential part of the generic pwog's cool kit. The radicals of yesteryear, at least the males, with their cigars, whiskey, guns, and prostitutes — Big Bill Haywood, for example — would horrify and terrify today's Mendocino County Candy Ass Axis. The radical women of the early 20th century, intellectuals, mostly, would be shocked at the joyless, censorious hags who claim to be their descendants.The old rads were tough; they put their lives on the line against money and power. They weren't playing. That's the diff between then and now.
THE DIFFERENCE between the pseudo-left we have now, the one co-opted years ago by Billery-style Democrats, and the old left that vanished with the demise of the old rads, is capitalism. The libs think a little fine tuning here and there is just the thing. They will never take on money and power. In fact, most of them scramble to get as much money and power as they can, cf Mendocino County Democrats, helping professionals, non-profit czars, public agency bureaucrats, and the entire grasping apparatus of the modern Democratic Party.
RADICALS still believe the problem is capitalism and, unfortunately, there aren't many of them. What we have in Mendo is not pro-pot hypocrites so much as... I dunno, a handful of highly irritating personalities who seem ubiquitous somehow, not that they are. There are lots of real environmentalists who complain mightily about the depredations of the pot industry — Supervisor McCowen, for one. And in the best tradition of actually putting his principles to work, McCowen spends much of his off time cleaning up after the bums who foul the Russian River and its tributaries. There are lots of good people out there doing good things apart from the phonies who loudly proclaim their virtue in big self-congratulatory banners at the Mendocino Environment Center.
INCIDENTALLY, Supervisor McCowen owns the building on Standley Street, Ukiah, that houses the MEC. It's always been a kind of murk operation. In the Judi Bari days, Bari and her lethal husband used the place as free rent office space. It always struck me as somewhere between an out-patient clinic and, at least during Redwood Summer, as a more sinister clearinghouse for federal agents pretending to be hippies. I think the bomb that blew up Bari in Oakland was shoved under her seat by Sweeney operating out of the MEC. The late Roanne Withers said that within hours of the 1990 event men nobody had seen before — tech guys — showed up to remove all the phones. That the bombing was never seriously investigated by the FBI tells you all you need to know about it. And the laughable fact that the "left," up to and including Democracy Now, passed the bombing off as the work of — pick your fave — timber corporations, the FBI itself, berserk misogynists (white male division), and so on, serves nicely as Exhibit A of just how gullible and utterly lacking in integrity what's left of the left is.
PACE YOURSELF, WALTER
As a long-time reader of your fine publication I have never had the desire to write a letter offering my opinion because I'm an inmate whose opinion means very little. But I can no longer resist. So please allow me the following:
I read the events surrounding Walter Miller and Chris Skaggs arrest in 2013 and have read the many letters Miller wrote to the AVA, including his most recent one published in the November 1 edition where predictably he writes a passive aggressive letter directed at Chris Skaggs by claiming to correspond with Sherri Skaggs.
This is of course sad. Miller obviously still has much hate towards and places blame on Chris Skaggs. Miller's brief visits to the free world were spent stealing from the homes of families who work and play by the rules: preying on the weak and tweaking.
I doubt very seriously that Chris Skaggs altered the destiny of Walter Miller. Miller is where he belongs. My advice to Miller is: pace yourself. You have a very long time to serve. So focus on what matters and stop embarrassing yourself with the letters you write to the AVA. Trust me when I tell you that no one cares.
FROM REDHEADED BLACKBELT'S COMMENT LINE:
The [Richardson Grove] project is ridiculous, and trucking pure crap up the coast needs to end. The nightly parade of trucks on the 101 is disgusting, and the potting soil, the plastic water tanks, the used cars, and the complete garbage for Target and Wal-mart is just not necessary. The rigs are destroying what is left of 101, and the constant wrecks are highly suspect and disturbing.
On the other hand, the Willits bypass was necessary, and quite overdue. Not having to drive through Willits improves MY life immensly. Nearly nobody really wants to go to Willits anyway.
Caltrans should build a bypass of Richardson Grove entirely, or send ALL TRUCKS over 299. If there is a slide, then a limited number of rigs ONLY, could go up through the grove TEMPORARILY!
Too bad if the truckers don’t like it, or YOU don’t want to pay for it!
101 is crumbling, and the future depends upon the development of efficient and modern transportaion. The population on the north coast is growing rapidly! Caltrans needs a REAL plan to fix 101.
The section between Ukiah and Willits is about due to slide down the hill completely, and is just about the most dangerous and poorly maintained piece of highway North of SF!
Focus your complaints on the Governor’s office. YOU are paying for these projects with gas taxes, so let Uncle Jerry know your thoughts!
Gee, driven the 210 from Redlands lately? Some Californians have good roads!
LOST IN THE MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST
by Katy Tahja
Like all misadventures this one started simply enough. In the process of research on the 150-year history of Mendocino County I am writing I decided I should visit the four geographic corners of the county.
The northwestern corner is in the Kings Peak Recreation Area off Chemise Mountain Road, which is north of Usal Road at a location called Four Corners. Got that? Serious middle of no place, except for the folks who live there. I couldn’t visit this corner as it is in a roadless area.
So travel down to the southwest corner of the county and you find Gualala Point Regional Park. To find the southeast corner of the county you drive south on Highway 175 from Kelseyville in Lake County and go west on Cold Water Creek Road to a spot where Lake, Sonoma and Mendocino counties join.
Where my husband and I got lost was just after finding the northeast corner of the county at Green Springs, a lovely campground at 6,000’ in the Mendocino National Forest. We had food, water, a full tank of gas, and the newest forest map available and we are country folks used to driving back roads and we still got lost.
The drive east from Covelo and north from Mendocino Pass was no problem and we planned to return the same way. We drove into Green Springs campground, explored, and when we drove out we went over a bridge we hadn’t passed on the way in, so we turned around and returned to the campground. We then took the other exit road we saw and again drove over a different bridge we hadn’t passed coming in. Hmmmmm…Well, we decided since this one went east we knew eventually it came out in the Central Valley we could take a longer drive home….little did we know.
I should mention that from the point we left Mendocino Pass on Highway 162 we never saw a car for the next six hours. No deer hunters, no loggers, no forestry trucks, no traffic. We’re living proof you can drive in Mendocino and Tehama counties for hours and never see anyone. I LOVED it.
Old rusting signs told us we were on forest highway two (FH2) which is a good gravel highway. How long could it take to get to Paskenta? Three hours and a hundred miles of twists and turns. In the dark you can see the lights of the Central Valley long before you reach it. We were exhausted by the time we reached Corning and got a motel for the night.
At the Mendocino National Forest headquarters in Willows the next day we stopped to ask how we got so turned around. On maps they have logos they put on campgrounds and trailheads that are placed on top of road junctions. Turns out there were four exits from the campground at Green Springs and we choose the wrong ones.
What I learned on this road trip? That there is a whole lot of EMPTY in the wilds of Mendocino County. Cedar and Sugar Pine forests, river canyons, beautiful vistas and a serious lack of people in places off the major roads. And the next time I plan a trip like this I’m taking a roll of flagging tape with me to mark those intersections on the forest roads.
CALIFORNIA RELEASES LONG-AWAITED CANNABIS REGULATIONS, WILL ALLOW HUGE FARMS
by Rachel Swan
ALBION RIVER BRIDGE
freeze access to funds
meant for replacement
of landmark Albion River Bridge
keep it safe for all to travel on
west the setting sun
a sudden green flash
below the full moon
a milky way scarf
this bridge is now
as it was then
man made it solid
let none shorten its life-span
—ruth weiss, november 2017
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 16, 2017
Amador, Curtiss, Galindo
AGUSTIN AMADOR, Willits. Transportation of controlled substance.
CAROL CURTISS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
THOMAS GALINDO, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
Gouber, Hensley, Ochoa, Williams
JACK GOUBER, Redwood Valley. Failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)
CHRISTOPHER OCHOA, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
CODY WILLIAMS, Covelo. Controlled substance for sale and transport, manufacture, sale or possession of leaded cane/billy club, no license.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Don’t get too hung up on the American version of the English language. Just going by the evidence of your own eyeballs, the United States is on the decline, its way of doing things unworkable and unsustainable.
Look for new arrangements to take America’s place both inside and outside American borders. The way of speaking English is just one of them. As the world fragments into new trading arrangements, or lack thereof, or new alliances or new animosities, the method of WRITING English will likely also fragment.
China is according to some people the world’s biggest English speaking country. The Indians say no, that India has that honor, er, honour.
As the US sinks into a swamp of economic decline and corruption and despond and idiocy, China and India will need to communicate with one another if only to call each other names and so they’ll find their own way with the English language. So will other places.
For now English is the world’s lingua franca. It may stay that way for a while for a lack of better alternatives. But I wouldn’t expect English spelling or speaking to stay static.
(ANTON LAVEY'S) SATANIST BIBLE proposed a sub-Nietzschean philosophy, wherein might equals right, and immediate self-gratification constitutes the chief duty of man… Against this ideal he set the weak — "those who arrange their lives so that they are full of bitterness and animosity and self-rebuke, very often transferred to others… We are for law and order, for the stability of society. We are the new conservatives." (LaVey in 1967, presupposing the Trump phenomenon)
A PURE BEING
by Manuel Vicent
Translated by Louis S. Bedrock
The adulterous woman kneeled in the middle of a circle of angry Pharisees, each of whom held a rock in his hand. According to the Law of Moses, the woman had to be stoned to death for her sin and those Pharisees were prepared to do so.
At that moment, they saw that a young prophet was approaching. They tested him with these words:
—Tell us, Master, if we should execute her, as the Law of Moses demands, or if we should pardon her.
The only response of the young prophet was to silently write upon the earth with his fingers some mysterious symbols. Then, without turning his face, he said:
—Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
And then he continued writing upon the earth until he had completed his message.
The Pharisees began to probe their consciences; all but one of them found a reason to feel guilty about their own past sins, lay down their rocks, and walk away.
However there was one among them who remained before the humiliated adulteress because he felt himself pure, free from guilt, a possessor of the absolute truth, and with sufficient authority to carry out the punishment. Filled with fury, he raised his arm and threw the rock at the woman.
Exegetes have argued to the point of neurosis what kind of lesson the young prophet might have written upon the dust, which was immediately scattered by the wind.
He might have written this prediction:
—Throughout history the figure of the merciless Pharisee will adopt diverse theologies, morals, and politics; thus, wherever you go, there will be an inquisitor who will be able to accuse you in violation of any concept of justice; a hanging judge committed to condemning you without any evidence; a fanatic resolved to behead you. In all cases, it will be the same personage: someone who believes himself to be pure, free from guilt, and thus, is unable to forgive you.